Immediately after our incident on the mountain, I invited some distant acquaintances over to keep me company in the gray room of my mind. I tidied up, straightened the leather sofa and chair, stoked the fire to keep the room warm, too warm, uncomfortably warm. I knew that’s how these folks liked it.
And they arrived, a noisy bunch, in wrinkled clothes of muted tones, hair unwashed and tangled. And their greetings as they walked through the door were different yet always the same:
“He can’t be trusted.”
“He isn’t good.”
“He won't show up when you need Him most.”
“He doesn’t care about you or anyone else.”
They filed in with this wrangle of words filling every corner, every crevice of my sweltering room. Every corner but one.
For in that corner sat a mysterious woman with large eyes and a knowing smile. She nodded politely to all of my guests, who in turn ignored her and urged their voices louder. I ignored her as well. I didn’t know how she got there and simply didn’t care why she stayed; my only focus was the deep satisfaction I was receiving from this cacophony around me, the hopeless drowning sensation it gave to my soul, the satisfying scratching that feels like relief while tearing flesh and summoning blood.
Without the slightest encouragement from me, she swept up next to me as I bent over the fire, throwing dead log after dead log onto an already billowing fire. And in the heat of the flame, she whispered in my ear, “But is it really true?”
I wasn’t surprised by her question. I’d been waiting the whole time for her to rise and ask it. But I recoiled in disgust, spitting back at her, “As a matter of fact, it is!” Rushing away, I looked for an open chair, a place to escape her inappropriate questions. The only available seat was the one she just left; I nearly ran toward it and huddled in its corner.
Always persistent, she followed me while the clamor of my guests continued, a constant tone-deaf chorus that was ever so slightly getting on my nerves. I sensed her kneeling beside me though I kept my eyes averted, staring at the shimmering silver paint on the walls.
This time I didn’t wait for a question; I asked one of my own: “And what would have happened had the emergency ramp not been there? Tell me that.”
Without so much as a breath between my statement and hers, she replied, “But it was, Maile; it was.”
Smoldering, I sat silent. She was another one of those “positive thinkers”, those “glass is always half-full” types and I didn’t like it. But then she spoke again.
“Tell me this: Has the emergency ramp ever not been there? Has the “bad thing” ever happened?”
These questions startled me. For the first time in our conversation, I looked directly at her. Tears softly gathered in the corners of her large eyes, swelling then breaking in gentle ribbons down the smooth terrain of her cheeks. She already knew the answer.
“Yes,” I whispered, my voice stumbling and uneven. “My dad leaving, my parents’ divorce, my miscarriage, our failed business, the loss of our home…” There were so many disappointments and losses. So much pain. The list kept growing, and yet with each situation I presented, she knew it; not just the name, but the details. She knew the devastation, the indescribable ache, the unquenchable hunger.
Suddenly I realized the quietness of the room. A sensible fire crackled on the hearth and my raucous guests had left. As I surveyed the empty yet cozy room, I heard her whisper once more in my ear: “Is it true?”
No, it wasn’t true. He was not deceitful or unkind or evil or selfish. No, in each and every one of those situations He had proven Himself to be good and loving and worthy of my trust:
He gave me the evidence of miracles in the now-restored marriage of my parents.
He filled my empty and aching arms with a beautiful, blue-eyed girl named Abra.
He ushered our family into our most exciting era yet as my husband began pursuing his dream to be a writer.
And in the absence of a house, He gave me a whole country to explore and taste and enjoy.
When I looked up from my pondering, I found myself alone, tranquil and content, while staring into a mirror with those kind and wondering eyes gazing back at me.